Hendriks 'making progress' but no timeline for return
HOUSTON -- White Sox closer Liam Hendriks is making very good progress in his battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, although he remains in treatment and still has work ahead of him.
General manager Rick Hahn did not have a specific timeline to share for Hendriks’ baseball return, but the White Sox will not place him on the 60-day injured list at the season’s outset.
“And that is on purpose,” Hahn said. “Hopefully at some point in April, toward the end of April, I'll be able to get a little bit more specific for a potential timeline for his return.
“I know that right now he's making progress. Liam is very appreciative of the well wishes and respecting his privacy as he continues to fight his way back to the big leagues.”
Hendriks, 34, is one of the best closers in the game with 75 saves and 198 strikeouts against 23 walks over his last two seasons covering 128 2/3 innings. Along with his wife Kristi, Hendriks has tackled countless charitable endeavors involving the people of Chicago and its surrounding areas.
The right-hander played long toss and even threw bullpens as he was receiving treatment during Spring Training, but he is not expected to be with the team during its season-opening series in Houston or for the home opener in Chicago on Monday. Manager Pedro Grifol will go with a closer-by-committee approach in Hendriks’ absence, focusing more on pockets of leverage with certain pitchers who are available on that given day.
“He's got a lot of options down there, whether it's [Kendall] Graveman who has had the most recent closing experience. Joe Kelly has done some,” Hahn said. “[Aaron] Bummer, or even Reynaldo López, who has looked fantastic over the course of spring.
“Not having a set closer per se on Opening Day does free Pedro up a little bit to mix and match and play leverage situations. So, I think he's got multiple quality late-inning options and he's going to be free to deploy them however he wishes each day.”